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Jeff Bzdelik to retire

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The Rockets just lost the man who built their defense.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In some surprising news, Houston Rockets assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik, whose switch-everything scheme catapulted the Rockets to the number-six-rated defense in the league last season, has informed the team that he will retire.

That’s going to be a huge blow to the Rockets, as the defensive improvement brought by Bzdelik transformed Houston from a good team into a title-contending one. His big shoes will likely be filled by both Roy Rogers and Matt Brase, according to Jonathan Feigen.

Bzdelik has been coaching for 40 years, starting his career off at the University of Illinois-Chicago and also spending time with the University of Maryland, Air Force Academy, Colorado and Wake Forest. In the NBA, he’s coached with the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Rockets, who he has been with since 2016.

He is leaving the game to spend more time with his family, which is certainly a decision to be respected, but the Rockets definitely will miss him. It will be something to watch closely this season to see what type of effect his departure has on the team defense.